Capturing ZogSports One Zogger at a Time

Jon Michael Kondrath can be found either playing, refereeing or capturing photos during the ZogSportsLA season. Now he gives Zoggers a glimpse into his life as an ultimate Zogger:jon2

As a youngster in middle school and high school, I always loved playing sports and taking photos. I did both as hobbies and for fun; I didn’t like playing on varsity because it was too competitive and my photos went as far as yearbooks and school papers. After high school, I expected my sporting days were over and I fell out of photography for a time.

Both sports and photography reentered my life several years ago, because of volleyball (finding a pickup game which lead into social sports and attending a USC volleyball game which lead into sports photography). Social sports brought back what I loved about playing sports when I was young, playing a game with friends.

Over the years, I’ve met many great people and good friends through social sports. I’ve played in different leagues and different sports. Some were great for a while and then fell apart, others didn’t feel like the right fit, and some sports I just wasn’t that into the league.

As one of the leagues I was previously in was slowly spiraling downward, I was introduced to Zog in its second season in LA. That season was a trial period, test out this new kid in town and see what it’s made of. I knew what a good social league could be and should be, so I had high expectations.

Although some of my teammates were skeptical of the league, I immediately fell in love with it. New people gathering for sports and for social interaction afterwards, a league that cares about its players and the greater community, and something I hadn’t seen before – photos posted of us playing. I’m used to taking photos for USC and posting those, because they are a big school with athletes who have dedicated their lives to a sport. But, here we are, social sports enthusiasts, with a chance of having a moment of glory captured and forever immortalized. jon3

In my next season, I immediately immersed myself in the league. I joined all four of the sports offered in Los Angeles and became a ref for beach volleyball (because who wouldn’t want to spend more time out on the beach?). During the beach volleyball season, I would bring my camera gear with me on occasion because I would have it for the weekend due to some sporting event I was shooting. I didn’t know who the Zogsports photographer was or if they would show up to our games, so I figured I would take some photos and share them with my teammates and the friends I was making. After posting some on Facebook, the LA General Manager asked if he could post them on the Zog Facebook page. I have no shame in admitting I love to see my photos posted up by others and seen by as many people as possible.

Enter season three with Zog, and I am now taking photos at as many of the games as I can. Some weekends my gear isn’t available or I may be too busy to take photos, but otherwise my camera is out capturing moments of athleticism, victory, and camaraderie. Every weekend, I meet new people who come up to me to say they saw a photo I took of them. Sometimes the comment is about the funny face they are making and to “next time get a photo when I’m looking better.” Other times it’s pure excitement for snapping the lucky moment of a game-winning play. Most of the time it’s to say thank you because they enjoyed looking at the photos. (I have no shame in admitting I love the Facebook likes and the positive comments of perfectly captured action, as well. So keep them coming!)

The reason I love photography, and social sports, is the sharing. Sure I love being complimented on a great photo or a great play on the field. But more importantly, I play sports and take photos for the interaction. Playing sports in a league where people show up and then go home, or only interact with their own team to practice and play in the game, is not fun for me. In a similar fashion, photography would not be enjoyable if I just took the photos and then kept them to myself. It’s the people that make both so precious to me: the people I play with, the people I socialize with on and off the field, and the people that are sharing and enjoying the photos. I am happy to have found ZogSports and its community of players and staff and I am proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the league in Los Angeles.jon1

20 Questions with Marvin Yates

Our next referee featured is ZogSportsDC’s very own, Marvin Yates. A dessert lover and wannabe comedian, Marvin reveals a few secrets to his fellow Zoggers.

1.        Sports You Ref? Basketball, Softball and Dodgeballunnamed

2.        When did you start working at ZogSports? December 2012

3.        Guilty Pleasure?  Sweets!!! I love cookies, cakes, donuts, and other desserts even though I shouldn’t be eating them lol

4.        Hometown? Detroit, MI

5.        Hidden Talent? I am secretly a comedian and have thought about doing stand-up.

6.        Favorite Sports Team? I don’t have just one lol…All Detroit Professional Teams (Pistons, Tigers, Lions), Lakers and Michigan State Basketball and Football

7.        If you were a drink, what would it be? Why? Cognac on the rocks, because I’m dark, strong, and smooth! lol

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8.        Funniest ZogSports Memory?  There was a rain-out during softball season. The field was muddy and unplayable, but the teams didn’t want to leave. So they stayed hung out, played a little (unofficially) and slid around in the mud for an hr or so.

9.        If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? Why? Veni Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). That would be the title because in everything I do, I try to be the best, takeover and leave a lasting impression!

10.    What’s on your mouse pad? I don’t have a mouse pad, maybe I should get one. (calling IT now to get one brought to my office)

11.    If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be? A woman (my girlfriend if Beyonce wasn’t available jk), a bottle of my liquor, and a boat so when we are ready to leave the island we can!

12.    Which celebrity would you love to meet? Why? Jay Z. I appreciate, respect and admire his grind. To grow from an inner-city impoverished youth, to a successful entertainer and business man with his hand in a number of different ventures. And on top of all of that he’s married to Beyonce, has to be great!

13.    Favorite Sneakers? I have a few: Jordan Retro X’s (all colors), Gucci Brown Leather GG Canvas Sneakers, Prada All Black Patent Leather Low-Top America Cup Sneakers… I love shoes!!!

14.    If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? Wish 1: To be rich, Wish 2: To be happily successful, Wish 3: An unlimited amount of wishes

15.    What’s your favorite joke? Why did the chicken cross the road?

16.    What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? All white briefs (underwear) for Christmas

17.  Fav food? Chicken… any kind of chicken!!!

18. Beer Pong or Flip Cup? Beer Pong, but with liquor instead of beer

19. Have you ever been in a newspaper or on tv? If so, where? Was in the newspaper all the time back in Detroit in high school for sports. Was on TV and in the newspaper in East Lansing and the state of Michigan for my efforts as a student at Michigan State trying to get a piece of legislation called “Medical Amnesty” supported passed in the State of Michigan

20. Best vacation you’ve ever been on? Why? Carnival Cruise 2 years ago to Key West, Oho Rios and Grand Cayman. Cruises are the best types of vacation if you just want to relax, see a bunch of different places briefly, and eat and drink until you are ready to explode!

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